Mainland Chinese stocks were down by the early morning. The Shanghai Composite was up by 0.26% to 3,474.16. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up about 1.24% to 29,063.75.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average. Nikkei 225 is trading down 0.57 per cent at 29,020.06 on Friday, while the Australian Index S&P / ASX 200 rose 0.08 per cent to 7,060.71. South Korea’s Kospi was up by 0.27% to 3186.91.
The FTSE MIB climbed down by 0.25% to 24,343.46 In the cash markets, the DAX futures Germany was trading 0.13% lower at 15,307.25. CAC 40 futures in France climbed up by 0.06% to 6,271.11, while the FTSE 100 futures in the U.K. fell by 0.14% to 6,928.08, at the time of writing.
In the U.S. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.94% down at 33,815.30 the S&P 500 was down 0.92% to 4,134.94 and the Nasdaq 100 was down 0.94% at 13,818.41.
In the Forex market, GBPUSD rose 0.35% at 1.3885. The USDJPY was down 0.04% at 107.91. The USDCHF was down 0.03% at 0.9163. EURUSD was down 0.32% at 1.2054, EUR/GBP was down 0.02% at 0.8683, at the time of writing.
In the commodity market, U.S. Gold futures rose 0.08% at $1,783.70. Elsewhere, Silver futures fell 0.22% to $26.125 per ounce, Platinum rose 0.31% at $1,212.05 per ounce, and Palladium was down 0.09% at $2,839.50.
Brent crude oil was down 0.55% to $65.76 barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (CLc1) rose 0.68% at $61.79.
In the Cryptocurrency Markets, BTCUSD is at $48,069 down 11.19%, Ethereum at 2,142.18 down 13.30%, Litecoin at 225.442 down 15.63%, at the time of writing.
TOP STOCKS TO WATCH OUT TODAY:
BioNTech up 1.18% at 142.05, Apple Inc. down 1.17% at $131.94, Amazon up 1.58% at $ 3,309.44, TESLA Inc down. 3.28% at $719.69, Unilever down 0.04% at 4,125.0, Microsoft down 1.31% at $257.17 , Barclays down 0.98% at 180.54.
U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday proposed a $568 billion, five-year infrastructure package as a counteroffer to President Joe Biden’s sweeping $2.3 trillion plan, calling their measure a good-faith effort toward bipartisan negotiations.
The proposal, which falls below even the range of $600 billion to $800 billion that Republicans floated earlier in the week, focuses narrowly on traditional infrastructure projects and broadband access.
It drew a mixed response from Democrats, who narrowly control both chambers of Congress. Some Democrats dismissed it as inadequate to the task of repairing America’s infrastructure and reliant on user fees that would penalize working people.
The Republican plan would not result in higher taxes but be fully paid for with user fees on electric vehicles and other items, unspent federal funds and possible contributions from state and local governments.
“This is the largest infrastructure investment that Republicans have come forward with,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who has helped lead the effort as top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“We see this as an offer that’s on the table and deserves a response,” the West Virginia lawmaker told a news conference.
Republicans sent the proposal to Biden on Thursday, before unveiling the package, which represents less than one-quarter of the Democratic president’s plan.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had no immediate comment on the Republican proposal, but told reporters: “Any infrastructure proposal has to be green and cannot be paid for on the backs of working people.”
Biden, who asked Republicans this week to offer a counterproposal by mid-May, proposed an infrastructure plan that includes not only traditional infrastructure projects but seeks to alter the course of the U.S. economy by addressing climate change and expanding human services such as care of the elderly.
Republicans have opposed the size and scope of the Biden proposal, as well as its plan to pay for spending by raising taxes on U.S. corporations.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the new proposal “has the potential to be a reasonable and bipartisan alternative and we’re hoping that Democrats are interested in doing something along those lines.”
But it could also form the basis of a two-track infrastructure process that would include a smaller bipartisan bill and a larger measure that Democrats could move through Congress without Republican votes.
“It’s a starting point,” said Senator Joe Manchin, who has insisted that Democrats work with Republicans on infrastructure. “I’m sure that we can find a compromise.”
Manchin, a moderate Democrat from heavily Republican West Virginia, is a critical swing vote in the Senate.
Biden has proposed $650 billion for roads, rail and transport, but that portion of his plan also includes a $174 billion investment in electric vehicles that is absent from the Republican framework.
Republicans would spend $299 billion on roads and bridges, $65 billion on broadband, $61 billion on public transit systems, $44 billion in airports, $35 billion on drinking water and wastewater systems, $20 billion on rail, $17 billion on ports and inland waterways, $14 billion on water storage and $13 billion on transportation and pipeline safety.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey said state and local governments that are flush with tax revenues and COVID-19 relief funding could also be asked to help pay for infrastructure projects.
Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress could need Republican support to get infrastructure through the Senate and House of Representatives.
The European Commission on Wednesday announced tough draft rules on the use of artificial intelligence, including a ban on most surveillance, in an attempt to set global standards for a key technology dominated by China and the United States.
Civil rights groups, however, warned that loopholes in the proposal, which envisage hefty fines for violations and set strict safeguards for high-risk applications, could leave room for abuse of the technology by repressive governments.
China is moving ahead in the AI race, while the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of algorithms and internet-connected gadgets in daily life.
“On artificial intelligence, trust is a must, not a nice to have. With these landmark rules, the EU is spearheading the development of new global norms to make sure AI can be trusted,” European tech chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
The Commission said AI applications that allow governments to do social scoring or exploit children will be banned.
High risk AI applications used in recruitment, critical infrastructure, credit scoring, migration and law enforcement will be subject to strict safeguards.
Companies breaching the rules face fines of up to 6% of their global turnover or 30 million euros ($36 million), whichever is the higher figure.
European industrial chief Thierry Breton said the rules are aimed at dispelling myths and misconceptions about AI.
“Behind the term artificial intelligence, there are popular beliefs and fears that have long been conveyed by the film industry,” Breton told a news conference.
“It is true that the little robot (Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) animated film character) WALL-E could unfortunately not make us forget the T-800 (robot) from Terminator. Therefore, we must navigate between all of this and not stigmatize technology,” he said.
Tech lobbying group CCIA said the rules should not create more red tape for companies and users.
“AI will be key for Europe’s economic recovery and future competitiveness. However, regulation alone will not make the EU a leader in AI,” CCIA Vice President Christian Borggreen said.
European Digital Rights pointed to worrying gaps in the proposal.
“The draft law does not prohibit the full extent of unacceptable uses of AI and in particular all forms of biometric mass surveillance. This leaves a worrying gap for discriminatory and surveillance technologies used by governments and companies,” Sarah Chander at the lobbying group said.
Greens party lawmaker at the European Parliament Patrick Breyer was also scathing of the proposal.
The Commission will have to thrash out the details with EU national governments and the European Parliament before the rules can come into force.
That could take years marked by intense lobbying from companies and even foreign governments, said Patrick Van Eecke, partner and head of the European cyber practice at law firm Cooley.
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